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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I don’t think people these days understand the magnitude of equal rights for women. Men have pretty much been top dog since pre-history – since we were hunting on the African savannah hundreds of thousands of years ago.  Women being considered coequal with men literally hasn’t occurred since humans have been human. Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing, or whether you think that women still have a ways to go before becoming completely coequal, you have to admit that this is a turning point of epic proportions.

Now before you get upset, I’m not saying women have never had an important role to play – I’m just saying that the guys were numero uno in the communal units, the households and in society (with few anomalies). It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1960s that things started to change… and my question is WHY.

In all of human history, why now? We humans have been around for a long time…. What was so special about the late sixties that triggered this change?

Enlightenment? NO

I don’t think for one minute that mankind suddenly reached an enlightenment. We are every bit, if not more, stupid than we’ve ever been.  There simply hasn’t been some sort of philosophical game changer.  Men are every bit the same as they were in the 1950s, 1850s, and as far back as you want to go.

Religion? NO

I don’t think it was because the human race cast of the shackles of religion.  First, religion in and of itself is not bad. It can be a great source of recognizing the dignity of your fellow man – and woman.  It’s true that often promotes violent misogyny, as it still does in certain parts of the world. However, it can’t be the reason for such a gigantic change as women’s lib because, for the most part, religion acclimates itself to the persuasions of the people. In other words, if a culture is hedonistic, their religion will follow suit.  If a culture is paranoid and angry, their religion will reflect that disposition.  It’s not a “chicken or the egg” scenario.  The mindset of the people comes first.


I’ve heard a lot of historians attribute the shift to World War II, where women compensated in the workplace for the GIs overseas.  Once the soldiers returned to the States, women had embedded themselves in the economy to such an extent, that there was no going back to a homogenously male workforce.

I don’t buy this explanation. There’s been many times throughout history where the men have shoved off to war and the women fill in the gaps.  Yet, it’s never stuck before – why did it stick in the 1960s?

Technology? YES

As much as we’d like to think humanity has reached an enlightenment, that we’ve come a long way morally – the fact of the matter is that it comes down to a simple matter of no longer needing masculine strength in the workforce.

Once man moved away from hunting for a living, it was basically all about farming for tens of thousands of years - back breaking work that required strength.  Along comes the Industrial Revolution and the workforce shifts to the factory – still a job that requires strength.

By the mid twentieth century, work was beginning to require a lot more brain power versus brute strength.  Now that women could leave the home, thanks to technologies that made cooking and cleaning no longer day-long chores, they easily fed into the demand for desk jobs.  A booming American economy provided the perfect storm for easy entry into this new workforce of “thinkers”.

By the 1980s, Americans got to enjoy the materialist bonanza that was the two-parent income! Now that both parents could earn a decent living, it seemed that the sky was the limit – household incomes basically doubled. We all won the freaking lotto in the eighties.

Unfortunately, the giant-piles-of-cash-for-everyone party was fairly short lived. It would seem this seismic shift that was Women’s Lib was taken for granted and underestimated.  The change it brought was still underway…. and still is to this day.  What are the results? They are no less than all-encompassing.

Result #1: The Economy is F***ed

We got used to the good life with this two parent income dynamic. We thought that we could keep it up indefinitely, not realizing that inflation would catch up with us.  For instance, in the 1980s (and into the 90s), it became taken for granted that all middle class families would send their kids to college. Now, in 2011, the student loan debt in the US is actually larger than our total credit card debt. Holy shit.

We also began to think that we were entitled to big-ass houses…. which ultimately led to the housing bubble.  Americans could no longer afford their upward mobility, but banks were only too willing to let us purchase our tuition and mortgages on credit. Big mistake.

Result #2: Men Will Fade

In study after study, it’s been demonstrated that this new brand of workforce is actually more suited to the mind of a female than to a man.  The organization and attention to detail needed in today’s jobs are better suited for women than men – like it or not, it is simply the case. 

And have you taken a look around college campuses these days? It’s all female.  Females simply flourish in this environment – in test taking, in work ethic, in focus.  Men are being left in the dust, and it’s not a gradual thing – it’s changing drastically.  It seems, the only place where men still occupy the majority is prison. Sad but true.

So, where will all this ultimately lead? Who knows?  We are in the midst of a transition, and there’s simply no way to predict where it will lead. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.


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